NYC94LA051
NYC94LA051

On March 3, 1994, at 1415 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N4487J, collided with a building during an unmanned taxi at Rough River State Park, Falls of Rough, Kentucky. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot and the passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. A flight plan had not been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot was hand-propping the engine when it started and the unmanned aircraft taxied under it's own power and collided with a building. The right wing sheared off when the aircraft struck the building. There was also damage to the left wing and propeller. The passenger was the pilot's 4-year old daughter who occupied the right front seat.

The pilot unsuccessfully tried to start the engine using the starter, but the propeller only rotated once. He pushed the airplane to a tie down spot, set the brakes, and tied down the tail. He then proceeded to hand-prop the engine. This was his first time ever hand-propping an engine. According to the pilot:

After at least 20 times, I was going to give up (hand propping), but gave it one more hard pull. The engine started and seemed to be running fine. I walked around the right wing, but as I did I noted the airplane had begun to move. The door was blown shut by the prop wash and the aircraft accelerated rapidly toward the runway . . . I jumped on the right wing and drug my feet to slow the airplane. This slowed and turned the plane toward the wooden building.

T In his response to how this accident could have been prevented, he reported:

Never hand prop an airplane. It's too dangerous. (If you do decide to) be sure you have good prior instruction and know exactly what you are doing, and have a pilot qualifed in that type aircraft at the controls. Never place a child in the front seat of an aircraft with a stabilator. On impact, forward momentum forces the stabilator up, driving the yoke back into the child's head or face.

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